A WLU alumnus calls out the Administration for promoting “race-to-the-bottom” labour practices

CUPE 926, the association that represents Laurier’s custodial staff, is locked in a struggle with the Laurier Administration over the right to stable and secure employment. As of today, March 29, 1,195 people have signed a petition calling on Dr. Blouw to forego his plans to outsource future custodial jobs.

 Mary Ellen Campbell, an alumnus of WLU, has written Dr. Blouw the following letter, and generously shares it with WLUFA members:

Dear President Blouw,

Thank you for your response to my message.

I would like to clarify a few points:

First, I find your point about contracting out the positions of only newly hired custodians disingenuous and, quite frankly, offensive.

Even if you only contract out the jobs of “future” employees of WLU, you are condemning the next generation of Laurier workers to a life of poverty, poor working conditions, and misery. You are also jeopardizing the health and safety of all Laurier students, staff and faculty by cutting corners with the stability and security of your custodial staff. The correlation between contracting out and decreasing health and safety standards and increasing rates of poverty in the broader community (among other negative effects) are clearly documented.

Moreover, the claim that contracting out is the “financially responsible” thing to do is absurd. In the long run, it is much cheaper to pay in-house workers than fix the problems caused to the university infrastructure, etc., by a company whose primary aim is profit before all other considerations. You have a responsibility as a functionary of a public institution to consider long-term effects to the students, staff, faculty and infrastructure of the university and not take the cheapest and easiest route you can devise. As a functionary (and not as a CEO) of Wilfrid Laurier University, a public institution, you have no right to consider profit and cheap band-aid solutions before the stability and happiness of Laurier workers and the safety of everyone at the university.

Finally, as an alumna of WLU (class of 2005), I can guarantee that I will not be donating any money to WLU or recommending any family members or friends attend WLU until you drop your contracting-out demands. You are ruining the reputation of Wilfrid Laurier University and are insulting the intelligence of your alumni by suggesting that contracting out new custodial positions is anything less than union-busting and a new race-to-the-bottom when it comes to labour and community relations.

CUPE 926 members should be applauded for their commitments to WLU as a safe and decent working environment. They are thinking of generations of workers, students, staff and faculty to come. Clearly, you are not.

Sincerely,

Mary Ellen Campbell

BA, MA, PhD (ABD), WLU Class of 2005

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